Sunday, August 30, 2015

19 Eggplants And Counting... Japanese Eggplant in Red Miso.

    
   When we planted eggplant this spring, we planted a wide variety. We planted the small Indian globe eggplant, the large Italian eggplant, and of course Japanese eggplant. I had no idea we'd have such a proliferation!!!! We are drowning in eggplant and I love it. Maybe because I grew up in an Italian household I have eaten eggplant in it's various permutations since day one. Then 25 years ago when I started cooking Indian food, I was introduced to the large variety of eggplants that were available. So, of course when we planted this Spring, we had a little bit of everything, only a little bit wasn't so little after all.

   Usually when cooking eggplant, I've either cooked them in some Italian recipe or cooked them Indian style. I've roasted, stuffed, and pickled but never have I cooked them Japanese style. I figured it was about time.... So...I gathered up my Japanese Eggplants...


Japanese Eggplant With Red Miso aka Nasu Dengaku


Here's What You Need:
2 large Japanese Eggplants
2 Tbs vegetable oil
3 Tbs red miso
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs Sake
2 Tbs Mirin
2 Tbs water

Here's What To Do: 
Preheat the oven to 392 degrees.
Pick your Japanese eggplant (if you're growing your own) Excuse opportunity to show off the eggplants.

Wash and dry therm and cut them into rounds.


 Then quarters.

Place the cut up eggplant in a colander sitting over a bowl, and sprinkle it with 3 Tbs of kosher salt.


Rub the salt around on the eggplant pieces and then let everything sit for 10 minutes.
Rinse the salt off of the eggplants.


The water in the bottom of the bowl? That's the bitter liquid leached out by the salt.
Dry the eggplant, rub it with 1 Tbs of vegetable oil, and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


Spread the pieces out so they're not sitting on top of each other.

Place the baking sheet of eggplant pieces in the oven.


Roast them for 20 minutes. You are looking for the eggplant to be slightly browned.
Meanwhile make the sauce.

Whisk together the sugar...


...Red Miso...


...Sake...

 ...Mirin, and water. Stir everything together until it is well mixed.


After about 20 minutes take the tray of eggplant out of the oven and drizzle the sauce over the eggplant pieces.


 Stir everything around until each piece is coated with sauce.


Then slide the tray of eggplant back into the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce caramelizes.
Take it out of the oven and serve it up!

   Sweet and salty, this oven roasted eggplant is a great go to for when you don't feel like getting out the grill. It goes great with any vegetarian meal, or as a side dish with meat or fish. Coming up next, all vegetables all the time, as a big part of our harvest comes in. Of course we're not neglecting dessert either and this is a great time of year for perfecting your "specialitie" for the up coming holidays. I got that. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Castello Noble Blue Rules In A Gluten Free Fig And Blue Cheese Tart.


   A couple of years ago I was given the chance to  sample and cook with a selection of amazing cheeses from Castello. Growing up in an Italian household, I've been a cheese lover since childhood, and now living in Sonoma I have access to a wide variety of cheeses, so when I say I love a cheese, I've certainly had plenty of cheese eating experience. I love the cheeses I've had from the people at Castello. So, a few weeks ago when Honest Cooking asked me if I'd like some Castello Noble Blue to play around with of course I said yes!

   Most people's experience with Blue Cheese is limited to ranch dressing, or maybe crumbled up on top of a burger to jazz things up, but Blue is a very sophisticated cheese with a whole range of talents, that go far beyond being poured over a salad. As I discovered, there's almost nothing that Bleu can't do. Nobody puts Blue in the corner! I decided in putting my Noble Blue to good use, I'd make it the star of a sophisticated Saturday night supper. I made a tart, using the  Blue Cheese, herbs from my garden, homemade creme fraiche, and some of our local figs and eggs from the Farmers Market (our Panache figs aren't ready yet) and to top it off, I'd make it gluten free since so many of our friends are gluten intolerant. The way I see it, if you're going to share some food, make sure everybody can eat it.

Gluten Free Castello Noble Blue Cheese and Fig Tart


Here's What You Need: 

For The Tart: 
1 and 1/4 cups of flour (regular or gluten free..I use my own gluten free special blend ) plus a bit extra for kneading
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
7 Tbs unsalted butter chopped up
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs ice water
1 Ten inch tart pan




For The Filling:
One  8 oz package of Castello Noble Blue Cheese
3 eggs and 2 egg yolks
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup of whipping cream
1 Tbs chopped rosemary
1 Tbs chopped dried lavender
1 shallot finely chopped
8 fresh figs
2 Tbs fig balsamic vinegar ( I use Sonoma Harvest Fig Balsamic Vinegar..in fact I use all their vinegars )
1 Tbs unsalted butter

Here's What To Do: 
Add the flour, sugar and kosher salt to a food processor.


Pulse it a couple of times to mix stuff up.
Cut 7 Tbs of butter into small squares.


Add them to the flour, salt, sugar mixture and pulse again. You want the flour mixture to be nice and finely mealy.


Set it aside.
Put 1 egg yolk in a small bowl.
Add in the vanilla...


...and the lemon juice and 3 Tbs of ice water.


Mix everything together with a whisk then drizzle the  mixture into the bowl of the food processor.


Pulse it again until you have a nice dough.
Put the dough onto a pastry cloth, knead it with a bit of flour...


 ...and shape it into a disc about 5 inches across.

Place the disc of dough into the bottom of your 10 inch tart pan.


Place a piece of Saran wrap or cling film over the dough.

Then using your fingers push the dough out to fill in the bottom of the tart pan and up onto the sides of the pan.


This makes spreading your crust a LOT easier, especially when working with gluten free flour which can be sticky. It also keeps your paws off the dough.
Work the dough up into the sides of the pan like so.


The Saran wrap makes that easier too.
Keep the plastic wrap on top of the dough and using as fork poke holes through the wrap, not the dough.

Now place the tart pan containing the dough into the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm things up.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Once your tart has firmed up, and the oven is up to speed, remove the plastic lining.


Lay a piece of tin foil inside the unbaked dough...


...and fill it with rice, or beans or pie weights...this is called Blind Baking.


Pop the tart dough into the oven, on the middle rack.
Bake the tart dough until the sides are set and the edges are pale golden. This takes about 20 minutes.
Take the tart out of the oven and remove the tin foil and pie weights, then put it back in UNFILLED for another 15 to 20 minutes or until it's baked through and is nice and golden brown.


Set the baked crust aside and reset your oven to about 390 degrees.
Make the filling.
Peel and chop the shallot finely.


Finely chop the fresh Rosemary and lavender.


In a large separate bowl whisk together the 3 eggs and two extra egg yolks.


Set it aside
Melt 1 Tbs of unsalted butter in a skillet. When it's hot add in the shallots, rosemary and lavender.


Saute them until the shallot is lightly browned. Set this aside.
Meanwhile back at the bowl full of eggs, add in 1 cup of creme fraiche


Whisk this together. Then add in 1 cup of whipping cream...


...the shallot and herb mixture.


Then finally crumble the Castello Noble Blue Cheese in.


Mix everything together well and pour the filling into the tart crust.


Slide it back into the oven and bake between 1 hour or 1 hour and  10 minutes.


You'll know this is done when the tart filling has browned and still has a bit of a wiggle in the center. Don't worry this will firm up as it cools.

Set the tart out and let it cool.
While it's cooling wash, and halve the figs.

Put them into a baking dish and drizzle them with 2 Tbs of Fig Balsamic Vinegar.


Pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or so until they look like this.


Your tart which came out of the oven rather on the puffy side should have cooled and settled down a bit.
When you can handle it comfortably slip the ring off the pan carefully.


Set the tart on a serving plate.
Decorate it with the halved roast figs, cut side down.


Finish it off with a sprig of rosemary and one of lavender.


Cut it up and serve.
If you want to make this a bit ahead, then put the tart back on a baking sheet, cover it lightly with foil and pop it into a warming oven (about 170 degrees)
The flavors of the Blue Cheese combines wonderfully with the sweetness of the figs, and the bits of rosemary and lavender.


Serve this with a simple green salad, a nice glass of wine and  Saturday Evening Summer Supper is ready!



    Disclaimer: Castello was kind enough to send me a sample of their cheese and financially support this post. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.”

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